Maria Grazia Nicolosi

Between Ecstasy and Terror: David Dabydeen's Mythical Transfiguration of the Imperial Archive

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: British Colonial Archives; Middle Passage; Cross-cultural Consciousness; David Dabydeen.

In the novel "A Harlot's Progress" (1999), David Dabydeen's long-standing interest in the visual arts and his creative intervention in the current debate on the representation of violence/the violence of representation in the postcolonial context converge in a work of syncretic re-mythification. In "A Harlot's Progress", mythical discourse becomes both the densely charged locus for a critique of the white British textual and visual imperial archives and the conduit for literary transfiguration. As revealed by its complex layering of cross-cultural myths of origin embedded in Western and non-Western artistic, literary, religious and philosophical traditions, the novel sets out to prove how the violent trauma of the Middle Passage has produced both loss and excess of overlaying inscriptions, establishing the terrain for a transcendence of racialised terror towards the emergence of a (post-)colonial ecstatic consciousness.

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